Showing posts with label Main Dishes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Main Dishes. Show all posts

Friday, October 16, 2015

Brown Rice and Beans

    My husband, John, and I were recently vacationing in Oregon.  We stopped into a little cafe for an early dinner.  We both ordered a dish that seemed to be very popular with the locals.  Well, it was simple, inexpensive and tasted wonderful.  After we returned home I recreated this dish as close as we could remember it and now it is a favorite of ours.  It's so simple it's almost scary but very tasty.  You can use leftover rice if you have it and, of course, you can use any kind of rice you prefer.  I like to make my rice early in the day and just put the rice and beans on the plate and warm them in the microwave when we are ready to eat.  Then you layer the other ingredients on top and enjoy. You could add any meat to this dish but you don't really need it.  Let me know what you think!

                                          BROWN RICE AND BEANS

2 servings:

1/2 cup Brown Rice
1  15 ounce can Black Beans, rinsed
1/2 cup Sour Cream   (mixed with juice of 1/4 fresh lime)
1 Lime, cut into wedges
1 Green Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro, rough chopped
1 Avocado, sliced
Prepared Salsa of your choice (I use Kirkland Brand from Costco)

For Rice:
1 1/4 cups Water
1/2 cup Brown Rice

Bring Water to boil in a heavy saucepan.  Stir in Brown Rice.  Cover saucepan and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for about 45 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Fluff lightly with a fork.

Assemble on your dinner plates….  Rice, Black beans, drizzle with Sour Cream mixture.  Sprinkle Green Onion and Cilantro over the top.  Lay 1/2 of the sliced Avocado on top and put a nice dollop of Salsa on top of that.  Serve with remaining Lime slices to juice over everything as you like.  I serve this with the Rice and Beans warm.  The rest is cold.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Macadamia Nut Chicken

I wanted to get this on my blog before Valentine's Day but guess what!  It didn't happen.  I cooked it, made notes, took photos and we even enjoyed eating it.  But, first I was bitten by a nasty stomach virus and then my husband got it.  We actually ate plain baked potatoes for our Valentine's Day dinner and this recipe did not get out here!  It may be late but here it is, finally!

First, though, I want to say that this is my version of what I love to eat when we are in Hawaii.  It's like chicken fried steak, only chicken, with nuts!   I have eaten several versions of this wonderful chicken and I have loved them all.  This is a simplified recipe to make life easy but yummy.  You could use any kind of nut but those Macadamia Nuts in Hawaii are so spectacular.  It's especially good when served with a quick homemade Mango Chutney or jam.  A Fresh Mango or Pineapple Salsa would be great too. Of course, prepared jams are good or just eat it plain.  When I made mine, I only had 1 Mango so I also used 1 Pear - it was really good!  I hope you enjoy my recipe.

                       MACADAMIA NUT CHICKEN

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Place Chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound it with a mallet (or use a heavy bottomed fry pan) to about 1/2” thick.    This will help the chicken cook evenly and quickly.

1/2 cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, minced
1 clove Fresh Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine) or Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Combine marinade ingredients in a plastic zip bag.  Add the pounded chicken to the bag and coat it well.  Place on a dish and place it in the fridge for about 30 to 45 minutes.

1/2 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or unseasoned bread crumbs  (Panko is crunchier and best for this coating)
3/4 cup Macadamia Nuts, chopped very fine
1/2 cup Flour

1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Water

2 Tablespoons Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Butter

Combine Panko, Nuts and Flour in food processor.  Pulse to desired texture.  I like my coating to be a pretty fine texture but still be able to tell there are nuts in there. Pour this into a shallow dish for dredging your chicken.  In another dish, scramble the Egg with the Water. The water helps break up the whites of the egg. 

Remove marinated Chicken from the marinade and discard remaining marinade.  Use paper towels to blot excess liquid from chicken.  Dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then into the coating.  Coat a heavy fry pan with Oil to cover the bottom of the pan then melt in the Butter.  Heat the pan on medium high heat.  Fry the chicken for 3 or 4 minutes on each side - until golden brown.  Remove cooked chicken to ovenproof pan and place in 350˚ oven for about 15 minutes to finish cooking thoroughly.

Serve with a fresh Mango Salsa or Chutney on the side, you can make this or buy it already prepared.

Serves 4

Mango Chutney:
2 Ripe Mangos, diced
1/4 cup White Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, fine chopped (optional, of course)
Combine everything in a small saucepan.  Over medium heat, boil until fruit is cooked and mixture becomes thick like a jam - this takes about 30 minutes.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lasagna - Made Easy

It has been a cold winter here in California.  We haven't had much rain but it is still cold.  I have enjoyed cooking and using my oven but it has to end soon.  All this comfort food is beginning to show.
John and I really like lasagna and I made it quite often when our three sons were growing up.  They all loved it and they ate leftovers for breakfast.  Now, I leave the lasagna making to our youngest son, Joel.  It's one of his specialties.  He lives 3 hours away from us so when we recently wanted lasagna I had to make it myself.  I didn't want to use meat this time so I gathered onions, mushrooms and spinach to add to the sauce, along with spices to bring the flavor up to what I like.  I use cottage cheese and an egg blended in the blender instead of Ricotta cheese.  Since I was using Joel's dry noodle method, I made sure the sauce was a little juicy to cook and soak into the noodles.  I broke my 'raw' noodles to fit my baking dish and I have to say it turned out pretty darned good!  There was plenty of leftovers so I wrapped portions for two in plastic wrap and then put them into plastic freezer bags.  Next time we want lasagna it will be simple to take it out of the freezer and heat it up.  Am I brilliant or what!  Enjoy...

                                Lasagna - Made Easy
                         (No need to boil the noodles!)

1 lb. Lasagna Noodles (dry and uncooked)
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 large White Onion, cut in med. cubes
2 lbs.  White Mushrooms, cleaned and cut in 1/4” thick slices
5 cloves Garlic, diced
8 oz. Fresh Baby Spinach (or a pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained)
32 oz  jar Marinara Sauce (make your own if you have time!)
1 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Oregano 
1 Tablespoon Basil
16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, sliced or grated
12 - 16 oz. Small Curd Cottage Cheese 
1 Egg   (mix cottage cheese and egg in a blender until smooth)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese

Heat Canola Oil in a large deep fry pan.  Saute Onion until they are translucent.  Add in the Mushrooms and Garlic and saute until Mushroom juice is mostly gone.  Add in the Spinach and saute for 2 minutes. Add the Marinara Sauce, spices and water.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

In a large and deep baking dish, put a little sauce on the bottom.  Then a layer of dry uncooked  Noodles, then Sauce, then the Cottage Cheese and Egg mixture (just dollop it on and smear it around), then the Mozzarella Cheese, sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese on and then repeat until you have 4 layers of noodles, sauce and cheeses. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake in 375˚ oven for 1 hour.  Use a fork to test those noodles for doneness.  Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes to brown up the top.  Let stand for 15 minutes to cool before cutting and serving.

Note: I place my baking dish on a foil lined cookie sheet, just in case it simmers over - you know how ugly some messes can be!

Swirl the cottage cheese/egg mixture!
First layer of noodles and sauce!

Leftover lasagna portions ready to freeze!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chicken Noodle Casserole

I was never fond of casseroles made with canned soup.  My Husband John did not care for Tuna Noodle Casseroles so I just didn't do that kind of thing.  However, there are times that you want to make a big, yummy and comforting casserole dish to either take somewhere or just to eat for sheer comfort.  I do like a good chicken noodle soup and yummy chicken pot pie is up there on my list.  I buy Rotisserie Chickens from Costco because they are so convenient, nice and plump and juicy and they are only $4.99.  I like this recipe with spaghetti broken into 2" pieces because you don't get a big mouth full of just plain pasta in each fork full.  The mushrooms are optional so use them or not.  It's good either way.  You can use the lower calorie cream cheese if you like.  This recipe makes enough for 8 or 10 people or you can freeze a small casserole or two for another time.  Since there are only two of us here, now that our 3 boys have grown up and left us, I freeze extras for later dinners.  I hope you enjoy this newer recipe of mine.  Make it your own!

                                    Chicken Noodle Casserole

3 or 4 cups cooked Chicken - diced or shredded *
12 oz. Noodles (Noodles, Linguini or Spaghetti broken into 2”pieces), cooked till firm
2 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
1 cup White Onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Garlic, finely chopped (that’s approx. 4 cloves)
1 pound Mushrooms, quartered (white or Crimini) these are good but optional
1 cup Dry White Wine (Good but optional! Add 1/2 cup water if omitting wine)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 cup Flour
2  14.5 oz. cans Chicken Broth (about 4 cups)
1  8 oz. package Cream Cheese, cut into 1” pieces
1 cup frozen Petite Peas
2 cups Pepper Jack Cheese, grated (Plain Jack or Mozzarella work too)
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

In a large pot, melt Butter.  Slowly saute White Onion, Garlic and Mushrooms until Onions are translucent. Add the White Wine and the Salt and Pepper.  Cook until liquid is reduced by half - 3 or 4 minutes.  Sprinkle the Flour over onion mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the Chicken Broth and cook until the sauce in thickened (about 4 minutes).  Stir in the cubed Cream Cheese (it will melt and blend as it heats up).  Add in the Peas and Cheese.  Add the cooked Chicken and cooked Noodles and stir to combine everything.  Pour into a large sprayed or buttered baking dish - I use a large glass baking dish and there is also enough for a smaller casserole dish for the freezer.  Sprinkle Panko Bread Crumbs on top and bake uncovered at 350˚ for approx. 30 minutes.   

*Note, I use the breast meat from an already cooked rotisserie chicken from the market (Costco for me).  You can cook your own chicken breasts in an oiled fry pan for about 4 minutes on each side or just until done.  Of course, leftover turkey can also be used!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grammy's Meat Loaf

Sometimes we have just had enough food!  During November and December we ate every imaginable thing.  We ate out a lot, we had turkey, ham, prime rib, lobster and who knows what else.  Well, what are we going to have for dinner tonight?  Yes, everyday we have to make that decision.  I am so full I can't even think of a thing that sounds good.  However, we still feel the need to eat.  I guess it's time to pull out the good old comfort foods and feel the love!  My mom never made meat loaf so I don't have her secret recipe.  Over the years I have seen recipes with just about everything put into meat loaves.  Finally, I came up with this easy recipe that my husband and I like.  It's very simple and basic, sometimes that is the best thing.  Of course, you can add whatever you like.  Don't forget the leftovers on this one and it makes great sandwiches.  

                   Grammy’s Meat Loaf

1 Tablespoon Cooking Oil
1 cup Yellow or White Onion, fine chopped
1 or 2 cloves Garlic, fine chopped
1 teaspoon Thyme, fresh or dried
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

2 lbs. Ground Beef (I use 80 to 90% Fat Free)
2 slices Whole Wheat Bread, cut in small cubes and crumbled (use your favorite bread)
1/2 cup Beef Stock (I use Better Than Bouillon brand, lower sodium) 
2  Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 large Egg

1/2 cup Ketchup (for the topping plus extra for serving on the side)

In a shallow fry pan, bring Cooking Oil to medium heat and saute the Onion, Garlic, Thyme, Salt and Pepper until the onion is translucent, but not brown, about 10 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and allow to cool just a bit.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Ground Beef with the Bread crumbles.  Do this lightly and just enough to break up the Ground Beef.  Make a hole in the center of your meat mixture. 

In a small bowl, combine the Beef Stock, Worcestershire Sauce and Egg.  Pour this liquid and the Onion and Garlic mixture into the hole you made in the Ground Beef and using your hands, gently mix everything until it is just combined.  You don’t want to over work your Ground Beef or it will become too dense.  You want a nice light mixture!

Gently form the meat mixture into a loaf shape on a foil lined baking pan or dish.  Spread the Ketchup evenly over the top of the Meat Loaf and bake for about an hour in a 350˚ oven.  You want the internal temperature to be 160˚ so it is cooked all the way through.

Serves 6

I usually serve mashed potatoes and green beans with my meatloaf, along with extra Ketchup.  Leftovers make really good sandwiches with a little mayonnaise and Ketchup spread on your bread.  Pure Comfort Food!!!

Ready to bake!

Ready to slice and eat!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken

This is a quick favorite of ours.  Whenever I say "what sounds good for dinner" John will often say "how about some of that lemon chicken you make".  Well, sometimes it is just what we need to fill the bill.  It's easy, it's tasty and it's not very expensive.  Years ago I did this with chicken wings.  Now I use whatever kind of chicken I have on hand.  Chicken thighs and breasts are both favorites in our house.  If you want to remove the skin, go ahead and do that before you bake it. I like to serve this with a simple salad and rice.


                                 Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken

2 - 4 pieces of Chicken (wings, thighs, legs, breasts or which ever pieces you like)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper

Melt Butter with Canola Oil in an ovenproof dish.  Stir the Lemon Pepper into the butter and oil mixture.  Lay the Chicken into the mixture and then flip it over so that you coat both sides of the chicken.  I bake the chicken so that it is skin side up.  Bake in a 350˚ oven for about 30 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over again and cook for another 5 to 15 minutes. The time will depend on which pieces you are cooking and how thick they are.  To be sure they are done I simply make a small slit on the underside of the chicken to look at the interior of the chicken, next to the bone, or check it with a meat thermometer ( 165 ˚ for chicken).  

Serves 2

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cabbage Tamales - Unrolled

I remember going to my husband's parent's home for dinner and walking in to the smell of cooked cabbage and garlic.  Wow, what memories.  His mom, Cleo, made the most wonderful little morsels and called them Cabbage Tamales.  They were such a family favorite and she labored for hours to roll them and she cooked them all day.  They were devoured so quickly.  It seemed like there were never enough.  Well, I made them and first of all, they were a lot of work and second, my boys didn't like them.  So, now, after years of thinking about those little morsels, I made them again.  Well, they are still  a lot of work so I came up with this recipe that is so much easier and quicker.  It may not be those little tamales that were loved so much but it is the flavor and that wonderful aroma fills the house with memories.  Sorry, Mom Cleo, you would love this shortcut casserole, or maybe not.

Try my shortcut casserole recipe and see what you think.  Of course, you have to like cooked cabbage, garlic and tomatoes.  The leftovers are so good, maybe better than the first overs.

                  Cabbage Tamales Unwrapped

1 lb. lean Ground Beef
3/4 cup uncooked White Rice
1 clove Garlic, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
Cooking Spray
1 small head Cabbage, chopped into 1” pieces
4 cloves Garlic, sliced thin
1 large (46 oz.) can Tomato Juice (or try V-8)

In a med. mixing bowl, combine the Ground Beef, uncooked Rice, chopped Garlic and Salt and Black Pepper.  I use my hands to do this and then I form the mixture into small meatballs, about 1” in diameter.

Spray a large casserole dish with Cooking Spray.  Put a layer of chopped Cabbage into casserole dish.  Sprinkle a layer of thin sliced Garlic over the Cabbage.  Lay the meat and rice meatballs on top and add the last of the chopped Cabbage.  Now pour the Tomato Juice over the top.

Cover the entire casserole with a lid or foil.  Bake in 350˚ oven for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and continue baking for another 1/2 hour.  You want the rice and cabbage done and not too much juice.  Serve with toasted garlic bread.  This casserole is very good as leftovers.   

Serves 6

Monday, September 2, 2013

Taco Salad

I grew up here in California, a long time ago - the 50's and 60's.  There were no Mexican Restaurants in our town, I know this is hard to believe since there is one on nearly every corner now.  I was introduced to Tacos while camping with a friend and her family.  They were simply warmed corn tortillas, ground beef, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes and the 'salsa' was actually Tabasco Sauce.  Later in life, like the late 60's and 70's, I learned about enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos, tostadas and taco salads. I have actually been to Mexico and I saw that their food is usually a little bland, compared to what we think of as Mexican Flavor.  I cook what is probably more of a Tex Mex Flavor but I call it more of a Cali Mex Style.  Here, in California, we like lots of fresh veggies and lots of flavor.  Food doesn't have to be spicy hot to have lots of flavor.

                                            TACO SALAD

1 tablespoon Oil
1 small Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 pound Ground Beef
1 to 2  tablespoons Chili Powder (to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon Salt and 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 can (14.5 ounce size) Chopped or Diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 can (8 ounce size) Tomato Sauce
1 cup Water
Tortilla Chips, broken
Lettuce, thin sliced

In a large deep fry pan, over medium heat, brown Onion, Garlic and Ground Beef in oil.  Add Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper into beef mixture.  Break up the tomatoes so that they are pretty small (I use my hands to smash up the tomatoes) and add them to the meat mixture.  Mix in the water and continue to cook on low heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened slightly.  You want a little juice left in the mixture!

Place broken Tortilla Chips on your plate, top with the cooked Ground Beef mixture and then top with Lettuce.

More Topping Suggestions:
Tomato, chopped small
Avocado, chopped or sliced
shredded Cheddar Cheese
Black Olives
Salsa (I keep prepared salsas in the pantry)
Sour Cream

Serves 4

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Salmon Tacos

This summer my hubby, John, and I have done a lot of traveling around California, Oregon, Nevada and even touched into the corners of Arizona and Utah.  We visited lots of family and friends.  We ate a lot of really great food and enjoyed it all.  I created this recipe because we really enjoyed some fish tacos in Newport, Oregon.  Last night I had some salmon so I figured, why not make tacos.  Of course, you can use any kind of fish you like but I am partial to the salmon.

Fish Tacos have become very popular and if you haven't had them, I encourage you to give them a try.    I have always seen white fish on them and it can be prepared in many ways.  The tacos can be on corn or flour tortillas.  There is usually thin sliced cabbage on top and many variations of additional toppings.  This is the version we had for dinner last night.  I hope you enjoy them....

                                                                 Salmon Tacos

1/2 lb. Salmon, well seasoned
Cooking spray, like Pam
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 cups Shredded Cabbage (or 1/2 bag already shredded cabbage)
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 Tomato, diced
2 Green Onions, chopped
1 Lime
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2-3 teaspoons Milk
4 large Flour Tortillas 
Hot Sauce (I like Frank’s Hot Sauce or Tabasco)

Season the Salmon generously on both sides (with whatever seasoning you prefer). You can use Lemon Pepper, or your favorite spicy seasoning.  I used my own recipe for Secret Seasoning.  Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat it on high.  Cook the Salmon for about 3 minutes on each side.  Use a fork to see into the thickest part to see if it is done to your likeness.  I like mine med. rare and that is still pretty pink in the center.  Remember that when you cook anything, less done is usually best, more flavor and more tender. Remove Salmon to a plate and then pour the tablespoon of Olive Oil over the Salmon for moisture.  I then break it up into large chunks. Be sure you remove any bones that you can see!

Prepare the Sour Cream Lime Sauce by combining the Sour Cream, juice from 1/2 Lime and Milk.

Combine the Shredded Cabbage with the chopped Cilantro. 

Heat a dry fry pan to hot and warm the tortillas on each side.  I like mine to get hot and slightly crispy on each side.  This only takes a very short time.

To assemble your Tacos, divide the ingredients between the Tortillas.  On one side of the hot tortilla, pile on the cooked Salmon, Cabbage mixture, diced Tomatoes and then the Green Onion, a generous squeeze of lime and then garnish with the Cilantro Lime Sauce.  Add the Hot Sauce to suit your taste.  Fold the other side of the tortilla over.  These are meant to be eaten with your hands.  

Serves 2

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tortilla Chip Casserole

When our boys were growing up I could have been the Burger Queen!  I learned to stretch pennies and to cook, shall I say, cheaply.  Ground Beef was known as Hamburger then and it was cheap.  I could have cooked it every day for months and never repeated a recipe.  Having three boys made life interesting because they each had their definite likes and dislikes.  This recipe is one that they could all agree on.  I haven't made it for years but a recent visit with our Grandson Alek reminded me of things I once cooked so often.  My hubby and I enjoyed this trip down memory lane and now we wonder why we haven't had it for so long.

Tortilla Chip Casserole

1 pound Ground Beef
2  8 ounce cans Tomato Sauce
3 teaspoons Chili Powder (1 teaspoon will go into the beans)
2 1/2 cups Tortilla Chips, broken and crushed
1  15 ounce can Refried Beans
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated

In a skillet, over medium heat, brown the Ground Beef.  Add 1 1/2 cans of the Tomato Sauce, 2 teaspoons Chili Powder and 2 cups of the broken Tortilla Chips.  Spray the bottom of 8”x8” baking dish with Pam cooking spray and add the mixture to it.  In the same skillet, heat and combine Refried Beans and the remaining 1/2 can of Tomato Sauce and the 1 teaspoon Chili Powder.  Spread the beans evenly over the top of the meat mixture.  Bake at 350˚ for 15 to 20 minutes, just to heat through.  Top the casserole with the reserved 1/2 cup crushed Tortilla Chips and then the Cheese.  Bake for another 5 minutes, to melt the cheese.  

Serves 4-6

You can top this casserole with salsa, guacamole or sour cream, or all...or, eat it as it is.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Salmon Patties

My Mother liked potatoes and I guess that is where my obsession with those dirty brown things came from.  When Mom made mashed potatoes, she made a huge amount so there would always be leftovers.  I especially remember her using leftover mashed potatoes to make Salmon Patties.  Oh, we had lots of fresh Salmon too so she canned a lot of it.  Well, in the past and in my spare time, I canned too.  Then things got to be more scarce, time was short and...  Anyway, I decided to make Salmon Patties the other day.  I had some leftover mashed potatoes and a small can of salmon.  I can't say that my patties tasted as good as I remember Mom's patties tasting but they did satisfy my craving.

                                       Salmon Patties

2 cups mashed Potatoes 
1 6 ounce can Salmon, well drained
2 Green Onions, chopped fine
2 teaspoons fresh Lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 Egg, beaten
Vegetable or Canola oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, except the oil.

 Heat a large frying pan to medium heat, with a very thin coating of oil.   Once the oil is hot, place mounds of the salmon mixture in the pan and smash them down so they are about the thickness of a thick pancake.  Fry the patties until they are nicely brown.  Carefully turn the patties over and brown on the second side.  You will want to do this in two batches so you don’t crowd the patties. 

Makes 10 Salmon Patties

These Patties are good served with my recipe of Creamed Potatoes and Peas and a small green salad.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chili - Vegetarian

I've mentioned before that parts of our family are vegetarians.  John and I have learned to really like some of their recipes.  This one for Vegetarian Style Chili came to us from our oldest son, years ago.  He adapted it, we adapted it and now I would say it is our own.  John and I both like cornbread with our chili so I tried baking the cornbread in a casserole dish and then adding the chili on top of it and baking it for another 15 minutes.  He liked it, I thought it was OK.  For the leftovers, and there were some, I put some tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl, then the hot chili, some grated cheese, some sour cream and then some cubed avocado.  YUM!  I still like my cornbread under chili, but made separately.  I would definitely have the tortilla chips again. Now, this is a spicy chili so go easy on the chili powder and black pepper until you taste it.  You can always add more.  I don't think you will miss the meat at all.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

               Chili - Vegetarian 

2 tablespoons Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 medium Yellow or White Onions, chopped into cubes
5 cloves Garlic, crushed and shopped
2 medium Zucchini Squash, cubed (about 2 cups)
1 Red Bell Pepper, cubed
1 cup Chopped Fresh Mushrooms (Portabella or White)
2 medium Jalapeno Peppers, finely chopped - optional
1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1 15 oz. can Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 tablespoon Dried Basil
1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
1 to 2 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 15 oz. can Kidney Beans, drained
1 15 oz. can Black Beans, drained
2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice

Heat oil in large Pot.  Add onions, garlic and zucchini and saute until tender.  Add bell pepper, mushrooms and jalapenos and saute another 5-7 minutes.  Reduce heat and add everything else except the beans and lemon juice and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Add beans and lemon juice and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Serve this over baked cornbread or tortilla chips.  Good with grated cheese, sour cream, avocado and cilantro on top.
6-8 Servings

Chili over cornbread, with cheese and  cilantro
Chili over corn tortillas, with cheese,  sour cream,
avocado and cilantro

Saturday, February 16, 2013


In the early 1980's I owned a candy, dessert and gift shop.  I purchased most of the candy but my shop had a small kitchen and I baked desserts - lots of cookies, brownies, carrot cakes and cheesecakes.  I had a friend who made quiche for me.  She wouldn't share her recipe until I sold the shop and was about to move away.  I guess that was her job security.   I have been making my version of her recipe ever since.  I will give you the basic recipe for quiche and then 3 variations.  You can make your own pie crust or do like I do and buy a good quality one in the freezer section of your grocery store - ready to bake and fill.  You can eat this Quiche hot, warm or at room temperature and it keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.

Ham, Cheddar and Broccoli Quiche


1  9” pie shell - prick the crust with a fork to prevent puffing.  Bake at 400˚ for 15 minutes with weights (you can use beans, if you don’t have regular weights).  Remove the weights and bake for another 5 minutes.

Basic Quiche:
3/4 cup Whipping Cream
1/4 cup Milk
4  large Eggs
1 tablespoon melted Butter
2 tablespoons Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
dash of Cayenne Pepper
dash of fresh ground Nutmeg

Combine everything in your mixing bowl and beat well.  You want this to be to be very light and frothy.  


Artichoke Quiche:
1 cup grated Cheese (I like Gruyere or Swiss)
1/2 cup chopped canned Artichokes

Spinach or Broccoli Quiche:
1 cup grated Cheese (I like Swiss, Cheddar or Pepper Jack)
1 tablespoon Poupon Mustard (add this to egg mixture)
1 small pkg. frozen Spinach (squeezed dry) OR 1/2 cup chopped Broccoli

Quiche Lorraine:
1 cup grated Cheese (I like Gruyere or Swiss)
1/4 cup cooked and crumbled Bacon

Place grated Cheese in bottom of cooked pie crust, then sprinkle the Artichoke, Spinach or Bacon on top of Cheese.  Pour the Egg mixture into the pie crust. 

Bake at 400˚ for 10 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350˚ and continue to bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.  The center will puff up and be firm when it is done.

Put your choice of cheese in the bottom of your baked pie shell.  Add meat and veggies of your choice.  Bake it, slice it and eat it!  Bon Appetit!